Memories and Anniversaries

I woke up feeling horrible yesterday, as I always do if I cry right before going to sleep. But as the day went on, I began to feel better and better, as if weights were slowly lifting off me. I always thought I was so grateful to have the friend I’ve been discussing in my life. How many other people can say they’ve had a friend since they were 2 years old? Not many, I think, in this very mobile world. I have a great many friends, really, because I’ve lived in so many places and always chosen to have new experiences. I had S., the friend from when I was 2. I still have 2 high school friends with whom I’m in frequent contact, plus 4 others that I either see when I’m “at home” or correspond with every few months over email. My college friends and I are still a fairly close-knit group, even as we’re scattered all over the country and sometimes the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to make very close friends in graduate school, too.

Sunday afternoon I either spoke to or emailed with at least one representative of each of these stages of my life, as well as five members of my family. I am not alone. Any maybe that’s partly why, as I think about moving on now without her, I feel like I’ve just broken up with a bad boyfriend – I feel free and happy and relieved and grateful that I can dedicate more time to people who care about me. I’m finished with feeling guilty over I’m never sure what, or walking on egg shells, and sighing with relief if we have a conversation where she doesn’t lose her temper with me. I don’t have to worry about feeling obligated to drive the extra fifty miles to her house when I visit my family, only to come home in tears because her husband literally said not a word to me while I was there and S didn’t make any effort to include me in the conversation. Nor do I, the Jewish vegetarian, have to be the only one “on the bride’s side” to enthusiastically support their choice to have a pig roast for a rehearsal dinner (okay clearly that wouldn’t happen again anyway but I still think I deserve credit for telling her brother and her aunt that it wasn’t a joke and that I thought it sounded like fun!) Or any of the many other times I’ve held my tongue or been berated if I voice an opinion.

Another friend and I talked yesterday. I hadn’t yet told her I’m pregnant again because it took a while for me to be able to say the words in real life and now we’d been playing phone tag for two weeks (she works too many hours!!). She immediately told me that she’s pregnant too. She’s still very early, so I can’t tell anyone else, but she said she wanted to be sure I knew first, and also that since we’d just had a long conversation about my pregnancy, she’d feel weird about holding back the news only to call me back with it a week later after her first doctor’s appointment. And you know, I felt complete and unadulterated joy over her news. Yes she’s still in the risky period and I will feel that I am at risk until this baby is born. I can only pray that our happiness and giggles over potentially having babies just 6 weeks or so apart wasn’t for naught, but I AM EXCITED and it feels great to feel that way.

But with that, I turn to a sad sort of story. Niobe posted today about the limit’s of memory and Lori commented about how her body sometimes remembers things, even if she consciously does not. I think I experienced that last week. A week after the cerclage and when I really had no reason to be worried, I woke up in a foul mood feeling just doomed to misery. It was one of those days where I wondered if I’d ever be truly happy again. We had a doctor’s appointment, with of course yet another transvaginal ultrasound.

Would someone please promise me that if this baby comes into the world healthy and alive that I will be able to start going at least three months without a speculum or transvaginal exam?

Anyway, as we sat in the examining room waiting for Dr. K, I began to feel anxious and weepy. I felt a sense of doom, like we weren’t going to see a heartbeat, or that my cervix would be wide open and short. When the nurse brought in the machine, I started to cry. I felt like I absolutely could not handle this. Of course it was all fine, and Dr. K did a great job reassuring me. But then, afterwards, on the way home, I remembered the date. And I remembered, suddenly, that it was that day a year ago that I had actually begun to bleed and passed the miscarried fetus. I had learned of the miscarriage June 2nd, had rejected a D&C in favor of “expectant management” and passed the baby over a week later. Alone in the bathroom, because Josh was still abroad.

[warning: this paragraph is graphic] I can hardly even remember the event, I know the pain was horrible, that at certain moments I wasn’t sure whether I needed to go to the ER, but I couldn’t drag myself down the stairs to tell my mother-in-law, whose house I was at awaiting the event, what was happening. And I know that for a full day, just when I thought the pain had stopped, it would come back, until finally, at the end of the day, I passed it. Physically, I felt so much better, but emotionally, I felt so conflicted about just flushing the toilet and being done with it. But that’s what I did. I had some lingering pain for a few days, but nothing like that day.

But I almost never think about that now. The pain, which was horrible, has faded into distant memory, overwhelmed by my experience of delivering Natan. And the tears and worries of those weeks seem so distant, even insignificant. But I know that’s not true. I cried for weeks and weeks, and was paralyzed by fear during my first trimester with Natan. Far more so than this time, because at least now I can carry a baby beyond those early weeks. But back then nothing scared me more than the idea that I would struggle through miscarriage after miscarriage, having to wait through it two more times at least before I’d get the attention of specialists.

Now, as I mourn a son who I felt kick, and who had developed an individual presence – like an absolute aversion to the dopplers and fetal monitors he would kick and punch away – I know that others mourn with me. And that doctors will pay attention to me. I had enough time with Natan to wonder why I had very few cravings and wanted only healthy foods with him, while this baby, despite my dislike for chocolate, wants fudgesickles. And the other day I thought my stomach might collapse in on itself if I didn’t have a snow cone soon.

Now I know that very few people are wondering when I’ll just be over it, even though such trolls apparently exist. But back then I thought that nobody cared, and that Josh and I would really suffer alone. I remember thinking that miscarriage might very well be the loneliest pain in the world, and I might have been right. So lonely that even I thought my grief over it had run out.

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8 responses to “Memories and Anniversaries

  1. I’m sorry you had to go through that alone. I’m glad you have some friends that are supportive. They are so important in the face of so many self-involved people who say the stupidest things.

  2. It sounds as if for a long time you were doing your best to maintain your friendship with S, while she was making relatively little effort in return. I can see why it would feel as if a weight has been lifted to decide to concentrate on people who are more giving and caring. And who knows? Maybe in time S will change. But even if she doesn’t, you clearly have many other friends you can count on.

    This post really underlines for me how much I’ve cut myself off from all my friends. Since it became clear that my pregnancy was not going to work out, I just wanted nothing to do with them. It’s not their fault. It’s entirely mine. But I can’t bear the idea of talking to them or seeing them. I have this paranoid fear that they’ll ask how I’m doing or feeling or that they’ll mention my twins.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to go on and on about myself and my many issues. It sounds like you’re doing well. Which is very good to hear.

  3. Body memories are powerful things…very very important to notice. I said over at Niobe’s that I’ve had similar things, and it happens to others to I think. Not always in relation to dates, sometimes objects, or places, or certain people. So sometimes it’s good to know about what triggers us and how to safeguard ourselves.

    I AM sorry about the miscarriage, and about your friend. I wish it could all be easier.

  4. Thank you for sharing your pain with us. I KNOW this sounds trite, but I have a friend who always says, “a problem shared is a problem cut in half,” and even though it isn’t exactly true, somehow it helps me.

    I can so relate to what you say about bodily memory. For me it is about my weight. Even though I have been at a healthy weight for about a year now, there are still days when I don’t want to take off my clothes, even to take a shower, because I can’t shake the memory of being weak and chilled to the bones. Even when it’s warm out, my body remembers being paralyzed with cold.

    I’m glad that Josh was with you on the anniversary of your miscarriage and, to parrot others, so sorry that you had to go through the actual event alone.

  5. Thanks, all. Everyone’s comments really have helped me feel a lot calmer and at peace with all of this.

    Niobe, Your comment (about S and me, not yourself) is too true. As for you cutting yourself off from friends, we decided we would make a really strong effort to allow them to be there for us as they wanted to be, and it was so hard in the first days where honestly I just wanted to hide. If you contact friends now, they probably will ask how you’re doing, because hopefully they care about the answer. Would that be so terrible? No one has ever asked me about our son, after those first days, unless I’ve brought it up.

  6. Alone in the bathroom, because Josh was still abroad.

    [warning: this paragraph is graphic] I can hardly even remember the event, I know the pain was horrible, that at certain moments I wasn’t sure whether I needed to go to the ER, but I couldn’t drag myself down the stairs to tell my mother-in-law, whose house I was at awaiting the event, what was happening. And I know that for a full day, just when I thought the pain had stopped, it would come back, until finally, at the end of the day, I passed it. Physically, I felt so much better, but emotionally, I felt so conflicted about just flushing the toilet and being done with it. But that’s what I did.

    aside from being in my own home, this is all the same for me. My fiance still in NYC at work, me home alone, struggling with my head and heart to flush. oh my …I’m brought to tears that so many people go through such loss and some like you only to feel a loss even deeper. I am so glad after reading most of these up through todays date that you are growing and healthy and so close to your due date. I actually wondered to myself last night while quietly letting a few tears stream out in the dark as I listened to Walker’s breathing knowing he was asleep, would Labor Day next year hold some bad emotions for me? thank you thank you thank you for being honest and brave enough to post these blogs.

  7. Christyna,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss and sad to hear you were alone. I don’t know how I could have made it through the last months without my blog, and the others that I read. I’m sorry people think you should be “over it” already. It certainly makes them more comfortable with life to think that way. Your boss sounds like a moron – vacation indeed. Take care. I’m sure your doctor would tell you 8 days is not long enough to recover. There is no timeline. When you will feel better depends upon so many different and particular personal circumstances.

  8. B~
    Thank you. I suppose your blog will be one of the things that gets me through this as well as the other support I have. Generally people don’t like to be made uncomfortable yet will force everyone around them to feel that way. It’s human nature I suppose. I’d just call it ignornace. I don’t expect to feel better about this 100% ever. My Mother had one right before she got pregnant with me, she still remembers and it hurts but you do find a way to struggle through it and live your life. I suppose that’s the difference between people like I have “Seen” on here and the ignorant population, we don’t forget, even if it’s uncomfortable and we take others feelings into consideration because of what we have been through. Like I said the world could stand to learn a lot from this site.

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